WASHINGTON, D.C.—A key Texas House committee has advanced HB 6, a bill that would criminalize election officials sending out unsolicited vote-by-mail applications. This is the latest Republican attack on voting reforms used in 2020 by Democrats in Harris County that protected voters during the pandemic and resulted in the largest turnout the county has ever seen.
Various counties across Texas sent vote-by-mail applications to any voters who were eligible, even if they did not request the application. Under Republicans’ new proposal, election officials who mail applications would receive a felony charge—and potentially jail time. HB 6 would also require anyone assisting voters to disclose the reason they needed help with their ballot. Most often, these are voters with disabilities or who do not speak English; civil rights groups are concerned the legislation would unfairly target voters of color, and violate the Americans with Disabilities Act.
The bill now moves to the Texas House for consideration.